By JUDY SHERIDAN
PARKER COUNTY — In an ongoing effort to improve safety and relieve congestion, the Texas Transportation Commission last week approved $446,000 for the replacement of the Farm-to-Market Road 113 bridge over Rippy Creek in Parker County.
Jay Mills Contracting Inc. was awarded the project that will replace the bridge and approaches.
“In a state as vast as Texas, it’s imperative to not only have reliable roadways connecting our rural and urban citizens, but also to be diligent in designing and maintaining them with safety in mind,” said Commissioner Fred Underwood, of the Texas Transportation Commission.
“Keeping everyone safe on the road is our first priority. We must do everything we can to get the driving public safely to their destinations and home to their families at the end of the day.”
Parker County Commissioner Craig Peacock said the bridge is located in Precinct No. 2, north of Garner near Bethesda Church. The bridge carries a lot of traffic, he said, and the re-routing required during its replacement will be inconvenient for a lot of people.
The county has not sought help from the state to get the bridge replaced, Peacock said.
“It’s a TxDOT project,” he said. “The county doesn’t influence a state project.”
According to the National Bridge Inventory, the 24-foot steel bridge was originally built in 1948 and reconstructed in 1964.
An inspection in 2010 noted the average daily traffic at 920 vehicles, as of 2008, with about a quarter of them trucks.
The inspection showed the bridge as structurally deficient, with the deck and superstructure rated poor and the substructure fair.
TxDOT Public Information Officer Val Lopez said labeling a bridge structurally deficient doesn’t mean it’s unsafe.
“It means a higher level of maintenance, and the load weight might have to be reduced,” he said. “It doesn’t mean it’s going to fail anytime soon.”
Construction is expected to begin by fall and be complete by spring of 2014.